Does your business have a written cybersecurity procedure? If not, it should.
A risk assessment is about identifying all the possible threats to your business and its processes, from wherever they might originate. It is an important part of a thorough business continuity plan.
Whether the disaster is natural, like a hurricane or pandemic, or man-made, like a cyber-attack, it is important to identify and plan for situations where you may not have immediate access to the data, resources, staff, or even locations you are accustomed to during normal business operations. The goal of business continuity planning, after all, is to keep the business running no matter what happens. Therefore, it makes sense that we would take some time to address all the what-ifs and plan for those things.
Before you begin the risk management process, you should determine the scope of the assessment, necessary resources, stakeholders involved, and the laws and regulations you will need to follow. Because the risk assessment process is so involved, it is most often best to consult with or hire a risk management specialist for this process.
Look around your workplace and see what processes or activities could potentially harm your organization. Include all aspects of work, including remote workers and non-routine activities such as repair and maintenance. You should also look at accident/incident reports to determine what hazards have impacted your company in the past. These include but are not limited to natural disasters (i.e., hurricanes or fires), biological disasters (i.e., pandemics or foodborne illnesses), workplace accidents (i.e., slips, transportation accidents, or mechanical breakdowns), intentional acts (i.e., bomb threats, robbery or strikes), technological hazards (i.e., loss of internet connection or power and cyberattacks), chemical hazards (i.e., asbestos or cleaning fluid spills), mental hazards (i.e., excess workload, sexual harassment, bullying), and interruptions in the supply chain.
For every hazard that you identify in step one, think about who will be harmed should the hazard take place.
Look at your list of potential risks and the effected people. How likely is it that the hazard will occur? How severe will the consequences be should the hazard occur? This evaluation will help you determine where you should reduce the level of risk and which risks should be deemed top priority.
If you have more than 5 employees in your workplace, you are required by law to write down your risk assessment process. Your plan should include the hazards you’ve found, the people they affect, and how you plan to mitigate all the risks. The record—or the risk assessment plan—should show that you:
This is a laborious process. We recommend using a specialized compliance specialist, like CentraVance Consulting, to help with this.
Your workplace is always changing, so the risk to your business change as well. As new equipment, people, and processes are introduced, each brings the risk of a new hazard. Perhaps the new hazard is more widespread like the global pandemic Covid-19. To protect your business and its reputation, you must continually review and update your risk assessment process to stay on top of these new hazards. By applying the risk assessment steps mentioned above and employing the help of a brand reputation specialist, you should be able to manage any potential risk to your business. Get prepared by completing a thorough risk assessment as a part of a larger business continuity plan. After all, luck favors the prepared!